Sponsor Questions

Most of us who recovered with AA's program did so with the help of a "sponsor". But what is sponsorship? How do I get one? Who can be a sponsor? What makes a good sponsor?
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cheddarveil
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Sponsor Questions

Post by cheddarveil » Sun Mar 31, 2019 12:30 pm

I have been with my sponsor for the last 15 months. She has helped me work through the steps, and we meet weekly. I have found our relationship to be quite beneficial, until I started sponsoring someone. We we're both in agreement that I was ready to sponsor, and when approached, I talked it over with my sponsor.

The issue is that I feel she is checking up on my sponsee. I found myself having to travel for work. I told my sponsee she could reach me via phone or text, and if she was in need of talking to someone face to face, our sponsor lineage all would be happy to meet with her. My sponsor will call me to ask how many times my sponsee has called me. She will text my sponsee, even when I am not traveling, to ask her if I am meeting with her.

Now my sponsee, with whom I meet on a weekly basis, is telling me she is feeling like my sponsor is being controlling. And I actually have seen that in my relationship with my sponsor. When I have to travel for business, she tells me I need to say no, because this could jeopardize my sobriety. I have told her that I think she is projecting her own fears on me.

Anyway, I am getting weary about hearing her checking up on my sponsee, and the drama that my sponsor has going on in her life, which does spill over to our discussions. Which pretty much end up being about her and what she is dealing with.

I do not even know what to think about thus, let alone how to approach this.
Abilities wither under faultfinding, blossom under encouragement. Donald A. Laird

ODAAT
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Re: Sponsor Questions

Post by ODAAT » Sun Mar 31, 2019 3:38 pm

Welcome back to the forum, cheddarveil.

From your description, your sponsor tends to be somewhat overenthusiastic about her role of sponsor. You're in a sticky spot since there is a need to clarify boundarie and responsibilities on the basis of equals, while the relationship you now have is superior/subordinate

Do you think you could have a corrective talk with her, explaining (as you've done here) the problems she is creating?
Also, does your sponsor have a sponsor?

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Brock
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Re: Sponsor Questions

Post by Brock » Mon Apr 01, 2019 6:21 am

I believe one of the benefits of forums like these is we can ask questions like this, the type we would struggle with face to face, because the person being asked might be hesitant to answer. Even here I am surprised sometimes, like in this case where members seem to be holding back on answering, it’s probably because we are afraid of ill speaking a sponsor, saying what they are doing is ‘wrong.’ I held back on answering, because I tend to be forthright and upfront in these maters, and may put others off of replying.

When we have discussed on this forum, the sort of relationship we felt we should have with a sponsor after doing the steps, by far most here felt, it became one of just friendship, we were friendly with the person who helped us, maybe even more friendly than we might be with other group members. But no where is it suggested, that this person continue to put their opinions on us, and do things like you mention here - “When I have to travel for business, she tells me I need to say no, because this could jeopardize my sobriety.”

ODATT was very polite in suggesting she was 'overenthusiastic,' but this nonsense she is doing trying to control your life and that of your sponsee, seems more like an insecure person who has not found the relief the AA program promises. And instead of being an example for her sponsees to emulate, she appears to also use you as a shoulder to cry on about her own ‘drama.’ When you do this program and live by it’s principles, you don’t need to offload your problems on others, and certainly not try to control them, because you have accepted completely that something much more powerful is in control.

This is not the sort of sponsor anyone needs, and maybe apart from trying what ODATT suggested in telling her about it, and asking her to cut it out, you may consider breaking off the sponsorship relationship. To help her see where she is wrong, you might point to the bottom of page 29 in the book ‘living sober,’ it says this -
Like a good parent, a wise sponsor can let the newcomer alone, when necessary; can let the newcomer make his or her own mistakes; can see the newcomer rejecting advice and still not get angry or feel spurned. A sharp sponsor tries hard to keep vanity and hurt feelings out of the way in sponsorship. And the best sponsors are really delighted when the newcomer is able to step out past the stage of being sponsored. Not that we ever have to go it altogether alone. But the time does come when even a young bird must use its own wings and start its own family. Happy flying!
The first part says you make your own mistakes, then it says you step out past the stage of being sponsored and start your own family, (sponsor others). Not only does she try to run your life, but also how you handle your own sponsee, that’s against what's suggested in the AA program, and I hope you get yourself out from this arrangement, best of luck.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."

Layne
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Re: Sponsor Questions

Post by Layne » Mon Apr 01, 2019 9:16 am

I respond better to hearing experience rather than hearing directives. I still bristle at being told what to do.

"Don't put your finger in that light socket Layne" or "Layne, just so you know, when I put my finger in that light socket, the results were shocking and most unpleasant". For whatever reason the second approach works better with me, but even it doesn't come with any guaranties that I will do the sensible thing.

When I encounter controlling people, I try to get my message across by expressing my thoughts in a vein similar to those expressed above. Sometimes, when that doesn't bring the results that I hope for, I have been known to escalate to " I welcome friends, but I already have parents".

Mainly, i just try to insure that I let the other person know (hopefully in a constructive manner) what is going on in my head because they aren't mind readers; and then I let go of the outcome.

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PaigeB
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Re: Sponsor Questions

Post by PaigeB » Mon Apr 01, 2019 10:25 am

I have changed sponsors 2 times since getting sober nearly 10 years ago. No one got drunk over it. Sometimes we just have to move on, like I did when I changed from my first sponsor, who sounded a lot like yours... or maybe to redo the steps with someone new to get a new experience, like I did when I had 8 years of sobriety.

Sponsorship is not a marriage or even a contract. It is more like an employer situation, where I HIRE my sponsor as a guide. She does, says, tells what she can and then I do what I have to do. When things were not beneficial to me, I had to ask other women if they would take me on as a sponsee. When I had to tell my current sponsor that I was moving on BOTH the drama queen and the relaxed one agreed that I would be okay and were happy that I was seeking to grow in the Program. I looked at gals who had what I wanted - then I asked THEIR sponsor to take me on.

It is good to have that one person who I have hired for the purpose of calling me out on my BS - cause I can't see it. Working the Steps again has been the biggest growth period of my life! Whew.

I hope you find what I have found.
Step 6 is "AA's way of stating, the best possible attitude one can take in order to make a beginning on this lifetime job... with most of them we shall have to be content with patient improvement." 12&12 Step Six, p.65

Layne
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Re: Sponsor Questions

Post by Layne » Mon Apr 01, 2019 10:33 am

I looked at gals who had what I wanted - then I asked THEIR sponsor to take me on
That is absolutely brilliant!

cheddarveil
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Re: Sponsor Questions

Post by cheddarveil » Tue Apr 09, 2019 4:41 pm

Thank you, everyone for your feedback. It is extremely helpful and I will be talking to my sponsor at our next meeting.
Abilities wither under faultfinding, blossom under encouragement. Donald A. Laird

Billcanojr
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Re: Sponsor Questions

Post by Billcanojr » Sun May 26, 2019 8:36 am

First of all there is no such animal called my Sponsoree ! They are called Prospects or Proteges , look it up in the Big Book and 12 & 12 . If you want to be a Good AA sponsor go to the back of the BB and see all the AA Conference approved literature . Get the pamphlet Questions and Answers Sponsorship it will each you how to be a sponsor . And in my opinion Dump your sponsor she is not your mother .

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